Lepore: It's got to work on those different levels.
I think people will be interested in how fluid identity was.
Kamensky: In some ways, the things that seem the most anachronistic to a reader who doesn't read a lot of 18th century history are the least.
Kamensky: Such as the fluidity of sexuality and racial identity. Gender play. All those things are embedded in 18th-century life. Differently in elite and non-elite life, but in both. That may strike a reader as present minded, but in fact it's not.
How long did it take?
Lepore: It took a lot of time, but it had a manic intensity. It was deeply silly and pleasurable. it wasn't hard to fight for time to do it because it was so much fun.
Kamensky: We're also both, I should say, highly efficient multitaskers. Between us, we have got five children,a dog, two houses, we had four or five book projects besides this one, X number of courses, however many letters of recommendation, so it was very – the carving out of the time was also very structured. It didn't just happen. When we were going to do the sketch, it was "can you give this a day a week for a while?" And that in itself was a considerable feat, and we figured if one of us carved Wednesdays and one of us carved Fridays we could get to it back and forth. And when the richness of the enterprise had lived up to that for a while, we started in Dec., by Feb, we said, "OK, we need to clear some space. This is serious work and it needs serious time." I was on leave and you were on reduced load that semester and we were able to move stuff around - April or maybe it was May. It did have a manic intensity to it, for sure, especially in the full-time chunks, but we also really fought for that time. We started in Dec. '06 and finished in June, '07. It was a great rush of work.
So what's next for you two?
Lepore: I'm working on a book about Benjamin Franklin and his sister. I'm really enjoying that.
Kamensky: I'm working on a biography of the painter Gilbert Stewart and his various worlds on both sides of the Atlantic.
Any chance you'll work on something else together?
Kamensky - I think we'll work on something else together. I don't know what it will be.
Any chance of more fiction?
Kamensky: No plans to have plans.